HOLLYWOOD, Md.—Chesapeake Beach Mayor Bruce Wahl announced at the last monthly council meeting that he would not seek re-election for mayor in November. Wahl was elected mayor twice and has been in public service for 28 years.
The 68-year-old mayor said he would like to spend more time with his family to do "fun things" and also "carve out more time" for his church family. Wahl said he chose to announce his decision about two months before the final filing date to encourage other candidates to run for office and to give local residents a chance to "reflect upon what kind of leadership they want in the mayor's office and who might be able to provide it."
"Candidly, I'm truly ready to move on," Wahl said. Wahl's announcement was met with a standing ovation and long applause from dozens of people in the room. Vice President of the Town Council Pat Mahoney worked with Wahl for about two decades, and he thanked Wahl for his service.
"All I can say is if Bruce Wahl was paid $1 an hour for every hour that he put in for the town in 28 years, he would own one of the cruise ships he likes to go on every year," Mahoney said, following Wahl's announcement.
Wahl reflected on his achievements in the past 28 years in public service. He was proud of the 11 property tax decreases in the past three decades and the lower sewer rate and water rate for local residents this year.
During his speech, Wahl encouraged town citizens to support the two initiatives to pay the town council members $3,000 per year and the mayor $18,000 per year for their services. The council will vote on these issues in November. Wahl said he believes that passing the initiatives will help "create a more diverse pool of candidates for these important offices." The mayor and council members are not paid for their service at this time.
"I hope and pray that a good leader will emerge to run for this office," Wahl said. "We need someone who will seek the office to serve the citizens of Chesapeake Beach, and does not seek it for their own personal gain or to satisfy their ego."
Born in Arlington, Va., Wahl served in the Army between 1968 and 1971. He also works for National Public Radio and said he would like to devote more time to his role at the radio station. Wahl will officially step down at the council meeting on December 15.
The deadline to file to run for mayor is September 13, according to Town Clerk Sharon Humm. Anyone who wishes to file can go to Town Hall and fill out an application at which time the town clerk will sign an acknowledging receipt. Anyone who is a resident of the Town of Chesapeake Beach, a citizen of the United States, 18 years of age or older and a registered voter in accordance with the Town Charter is eligible to run.
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